Where can you find a place that throws its arms around the wonderful humble lifestyle found high in the mountains, and in the same breath, be furnished with impeccable style and filled with fellow like-minded lovers of design & creativity? Enter the little house big on soul and the home to travelling nomads and good-life hunters.
Brücke 49 in Vals is a chameleon: it is strictly speaking not a hotel; it is certainly not your average Bed & Breakfast or your run-of-the-mill Guesthouse – no, Brücke 49 is uncommon in every respect and that’s what we love about the place and perhaps explains why this little-known hub will become your own creative refuge when in the mountain village of Vals.
The house itself is a rare find – built in 1902 by a local living at the time in Paris, the Parisian-styled architecture lends an air of dainty nobility to the river bank with the added elegance of larger windows that throw in light and graced with higher ceilings compared to that of its village cousins.
Rescued with love, the fine bones of this villa have been painstakingly restored and once again the house is the dapper neighbour dressed in a façade of eye-catching pencil-lead grey; a theme that flows into the house from the dovetail grey painted tongue & grove panelling, to the plain natural linen curtains that flutter in the mountain breezes. Although the genealogy of Brücke 49 is dunked in Swiss heritage, the interior has been designed to host a smooth Scandi remit of calm, modesty, intelligence and subtle wit.
Objects trouvés, finest examples of contemporary Scandinavian 20th century furniture by the hand of well-known masters and modern classics reveal a strong sense of composition: an imperfect but stylish mix. Brücke 49 fosters instinctive design and betrays the well-traversed owners’ sense of essential curiosity.
It is these threads of creativity, culture, nature and style that attract fellow like-minded guests to make Brücke 49 their habitat, a fun spirited place where they feel at ease. It is a design outpost where people who smile when they find ‘nice’ things well-made gather and share stories and other finds that you will love. It is a house where you can curl up with a good book from the miniature library, or a magazine from one of the many piles lying around the house. It is a house that gives the feeling to grab a bottle of Swiss wine from the honesty kitchen and retreat to your handmade bed to watch an old-time classic on your laptop (hideous wall-mounted plasma thankfully banned) and for the urbanites, who like us, seek a well styled basecamp from which to venture out into the wonders of the mountains getting close to nature, before returning to our beacon of cosy.
Brücke 49 is, simple put – a truly wonderful find, a house that you feel you have always known, like staying in a friend’s family home and it is not uncommon to leave having met new interesting peeps also residing at the Brücke – here you find kindred spirits happily at home in Vals: come as a guest, leave as friends.
Counting sheep? Expect to hit the sack relatively early at the Brücke 49 – fresh mountain air alone with usher in a good night’s sleep, and once you hit the creature comfort of your handmade bed, it won’t be long before you pull over the linen and cotton duvets and drift off, "one, two, three...".
The informal layout of the accommodation over two floors of the house consists of four double rooms; two rooms and a separate large shared bathroom concept on each landing, making it the perfect combi for those seeking a luxe bedroom in which to retreat with a good book, and equally for friends & family. On the upper floor of the house you’ll find The Valser Room and the smaller Tomül Room. This floor is also perfect for a larger family in need of up to 6 beds, or friends visiting the mountains together. The first floor houses the largest room with separate living room, called The Suite due to its size, and the William Morris inspired Zervreila Room, which comes with its own south-facing private balcony.
Brücke 49 is about sharing the good things in life and when fellow house guests gather around the breakfast table in the kitchen, it becomes the focal point of the day and where conversations kick-off.
There is nothing to beat being slowly awoken to the wafts of fresh bread and brewing coffee from the house kitchen. In no-time fellow house guests mingle and convene at the “Breakfast Club”.
Mountain-to-table describes best the feast of delights that begin to populate the kitchen table, served on cheery mixed Danish china and ceramics. Breakfast is wholesome and heartfelt with produce sourced from local farmers who were the early adopters of organic. House-made Knäkkebrot, one of the best-ever Granola, and the bounties from the alps; fresh yoghurts, cheeses, jams & honey, cured meats and the yellowest of eggs hit the table. Breakfast is social, an event to mark the start to a good day ahead.
A well-stocked House Pantry hosts the help-yourself concept for when you feel peckish for afternoon cake, a light bite or just a tea. In the lounge, a small curated drinks trolley - come honesty bar, invites house-residents to pour a glass of wine, a gin or perhaps a night-cap as you return from a dinner in one of the many local restaurants - the owners' favourite restaurants are easily sorted, as is bringing in a chef to cater when you book the whole house with friends and family.
Brücke 49 is the realisation of Swiss-born Ruth Kramer and Danish husband Thomas Schacht. The widely travelled creative duo are true kindred spirits in knowing exactly what feels and looks right: they share a deep passion foremost for authentic, beautiful pieces; the handmade; the lovingly crafted using old methods; the tactility of fabrics and those vintage random finds that make you smile.
With Ruth coming from fashion and design and Thomas from creative branding, the couple have instilled their design marriage between Swiss and Scandinavia onto the house from the crockery to the linen, the furnishings to the paints.
“A life high in the mountains” is not only the mantra of Brücke 49, it is also the dream come true for this pair. Like so many of us often dream about a different path in life, this couple upped sticks in pursuit of owning a small hotel-type refuge for creatives and to get closer to nature in their beloved Vals: a place that had become home away from home over the many return visits.
Ruth & Thomas are the unconventional guesthouse hosts, and as such are intrinsically interesting people to stay with, attracting like-minded people who appreciate the house aesthetic. A stay here is like finding long-lost friends that you never knew you had: come as guests, leave as friends.
Surrounded by the beautiful spectacular Piz Tomül Mountain, Brücke 49 sits on the banks of the river at the Valser Rhein Bridge, close to the village square of Vals and overlooking the pitched rooftops and bell tower of the village church.
Vals is a small ski resort with just 5 ski lifts (1 chair lift, 4 surface lifts) but it does boast a very impressive 1964 metres (6443 feet) of vertical descent. Brücke 49 allows you to combine village life high in the mountains with pure escapism on your doorstep.
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